Building Standards Workforce Strategy – Achievements at the end of Year Two
A joint blog post by Local Authority Building Standards Scotland and Building Standards Division
The last 12 months has seen significant progress in delivery of the workforce strategy for the building standards verification service. The strategy is a key workstream of the Building Standards Futures Board. Partnership working between Building Standards Division and Local Authority Building Standards Scotland (LABSS) has ensured we’ve been able to maintain momentum with our work over the last year.
This post covers the main achievements from Year Two and looks ahead to the priorities for the third and final year of strategy delivery as many elements become embedded into practice.
Professional Framework and the Competency Assessment System
Feedback collected on the first year of using the Professional Competence Framework (PCF) and the Competency Assessment System (CAS) has confirmed there is real value in having a single way to assess competency and identify skill gaps across the whole of the building standards profession. The comments provided cover user experience of the CAS, alignment with job roles in the PCF and the identification of training needs. The feedback has been used to inform development of modules that will be included in the forthcoming online training platform currently being developed by LABSS and their digital partner.
Work will begin in the new year to explore options for a digital CAS that fully reflects the user feedback provided. The aim is to develop an online system that streamlines the CAS process and includes a reporting function to support a strategic approach to skills development for the profession.
Modern Apprenticeship (MA) for Building Standards
The first cohort of 14 building standards apprentices started the MA course in September 2022. The introduction of new talent into the profession will assist verifiers with succession planning.
A launch event was held on 23 November 2022 with Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights. The Minister congratulated the apprentices on taking up their roles in the profession and thanked colleagues from LABSS, Energy Skills Partnership, Inverness UHI College and Fife College for their commitment to developing and delivering the course. Work has started with local authorities to confirm their involvement in recruitment for cohort 2 next year.
A learning and development environment
An online platform for access to short self-led training modules is being developed by LABSS. The introduction of a learning and development hub is a key element of the strategy to provide access to training for all staff from new starts to experienced surveyors who wish to refresh their learning on aspects of the building standards system and the building regulations. An initial set of eight modules is being prepared based on the skill gap assessments reported so far through the CAS process. Work is progressing well, and it is expected the initial modules will be developed from April 2023 with an incorporation within a LABSS Learning Management platform later in 2023.
The focus will remain on competence and training for building standards professionals. The work on the online training platform will be followed by more work with colleges, universities and professional bodies to ensure professional development for building standards is current, relevant and in line with the demand for training as evidenced by the CAS.
The Ambassadors’ Network will be supported with a Delivery Strategy covering a three year period to ensure the outreach work by Ambassadors is effective and targeted towards priority audiences.
Further recruitment by local authorities of more apprentices will secure the long term future of the new course and ensure the apprentices are able to flourish in their job roles.
The ongoing support from the Building Standards Futures Board and Local Authority Chief Executives is a major factor in the achievements so far. We look forward to continuing these partnerships in the year ahead.